Mathematical model predicts insurgent attacks

December 16th, 2009

Mathematical model predicts insurgent attacks

A paper just published in Nature, Common ecology quantifies human insurgency, describes a mathematical model that can be used to predict the the sizes and timing of violent events within different insurgent conflicts.

“We propose a unified model of human insurgency that reproduces these commonalities, and explains conflict-specific variations quantitatively in terms of underlying rules of engagement. Our model treats each insurgent population as an ecology of dynamically evolving, self-organized groups following common decision-making processes. Our model is consistent with several recent hypotheses about modern insurgency is robust to many generalizations, and establishes a quantitative connection between human insurgency, global terrorism and ecology. Its similarity to financial market models provides a surprising link between violent and non-violent forms of human behaviour.”

See also a note in Nature News, Modellers claim wars are predictable and this TED talk by one of the authors, Sean Gourley, on the mathematics of war.

The TED blog has more information and portions of an interview with Gourley.